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China: Single-Use Plastic Straw and Bag Ban Takes Effect

(Mar. 23, 2021) On January 1, 2021, a plastic ban took effect in China that prohibits restaurants throughout the country from providing single-use plastic straws and stores in the major cities from providing plastic shopping bags. These are among the restrictions on the production, sale, and use of single-use plastic products set out in a […]

United Kingdom: Government Publishes Public Consultation on Environmental Impact of Commercial Spaceflight

(Mar. 2, 2021) On February 10, 2021, the United Kingdom’s government published a consultation (survey) seeking the public’s opinion about the environmental objectives the U.K.’s spaceflight regulator must consider when determining whether to grant a spaceport or launch operator license, along with guidance on how the regulator must implement these objectives. The government acknowledges both […]

Germany: Lightweight Plastic Bag Ban to Take Effect January 1, 2022

(Feb. 25, 2021) On February 9, 2021, the First Act to Amend the Packaging Act entered into force in Germany. The amendment bans the distribution of lightweight plastic bags at the point of sale of goods or products starting January 1, 2022. Lightweight plastic bags are those with a wall thickness below 50 microns. Very […]

England and Wales: Draft Regulations Introduced to Ban Single Use Plastics

(Mar. 13, 2020) As part of its 25 Year Environment Plan, the government of England and Wales introduced draft Regulations, known as the Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020, on March 3, 2020. The draft Regulations would ban the supply of certain single-use plastics, including straws, cotton swabs (such as […]

Sweden: Parliament Votes to Adopt Tax on Plastic Bags

(Jan. 31, 2020) On January 29, 2020, the Swedish Parliament voted to approve a tax on plastic bags. Under the new rules most plastic bags will be taxed at SEK 3 (about US$0.31) apiece, while smaller and thinner plastic bags will be taxed at 30 öre (SEK 0.30, about US$0.03) apiece. Smaller plastic bags are […]

New Zealand: Mandatory Phase Out of Single-Use Plastic Bags to Commence Mid-2019

(Dec. 3, 2018) On November 24, 2018, Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, announced that the New Zealand government had decided that a mandatory phaseout of single-use plastic shopping bags will come into effect in the middle of 2019. (Press Release, Eugenie Sage, Mandatory Phase Out of Single-Use Plastic Bags Confirmed (Nov. 24, 2018).) […]

Several Pacific Countries Announce Bans on Single-Use Plastic Bags

(July 18, 2018) On July 11, 2018, it was reported that Niue was the latest Pacific Island country to announce a ban on single-use plastic bags, following the implementation of a similar ban in Vanuatu, and related announcements by Samoa and Papua New Guinea. (Niue Joins Growing Pacific Movement to Ban Plastics, RNZ (July 11, […]

Thailand: Ban on Smoking on Beaches

(Oct. 26, 2017) It was reported on October 11, 2017, that the Thai government will ban smoking on 20 of the country’s popular tourist beaches beginning in November. (Thailand Bans Smoking on Beaches, THAI LAW FORUM (Oct. 11, 2017); Smoking Ban Planned at 20 Popular Beaches, BANGKOK POST (Oct. 10, 2017).)  The maximum punishment for […]

Cuba/United States: Agreement on Oil Spill Preparedness

(Jan. 17, 2017) On January 9, 2017, it was announced that authorities from the United States and Cuba had signed an agreement covering matters related to preparedness for and responses to incidents of hazardous substance pollution and oil spills in the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. (Press Release, United States and Cuba […]

United Kingdom: Legislation Proposed to Ban Micro-Beads in Cosmetics and Soaps by October 2017

(Dec. 29, 2016) Microbeads, also known as micro plastics, are tiny plastic beads added as exfoliators to face scrubs, toothpaste, and shower gels. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee found that around 680 tons of microbeads are used in the United Kingdom annually, and each shower with a product containing these beads can send […]